Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Public Employees Air Own Ad

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    NEWSLETTERS

    All week, I've been writing about conservative websites that favor cutting pensions for public employees in Illinois. It turns out the public employees have their own website -- a heart-tugging TV spot that’s going on the air with a $1 million buy.

    You can watch the ad at We Are One Illinois, which is sponsored by the AFL-CIO, along with a plethora of teacher, firefighter and cop unions.

    The ad features a teacher, a firefighter and a cop, too. Those are the most admirable government professions. They also rebuke the claim on IllinoisIsBroke.com, a website sponsored by the Commercial Club of Chicago, that “bureaucrats” are getting pensions better than 95 percent of employees in private industry.

     Here’s the text, which is delivered in the voices of all three workers:

    “I worked my whole life, saved lives, fought fires, taught kids. I’m not eligible for Social Security. All I have is the pension I paid for, but the politicians broke their promise, failed to make payments, and now they want to punish me for their mess. I did my job, but they want to take my pension, because the politicians didn’t do theirs. Anyone who thinks that’s right should take a walk in my shoes.”

    The ad isn’t aimed at persuading Republicans, though. It’s aimed at Democrats, the unions’ traditional allies. According to Business Week, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are “Taking A Page From The Republican Playbook” by

    Backing a bill to make retirees pay a bigger share of premiums for health care and to force school districts to shoulder more of the teacher-retirement costs. Governor Pat Quinn has said that he would prefer negotiating with unions to win concessions, but has not threatened to veto legislation to cut benefits.

    Public employees say that’s unfair and unconstitutional. If this ad doesn’t stop the bill, don’t be surprised if they file a lawsuit, invoking the state constitution’s prohibition against altering their pensions.

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